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Portland Vase Wedgwood amendedAF_V&A_SmCT10267.tif

Lunchtime Lecture: Handmade in Britain

This week, Hillgate visited the V&A for a lunchtime lecture from curator Joanna Norman that focused on some of the objects that have appeared on the BBC Handmade in Britain programmes.

For those that haven’t managed to watch any of the Handmade in Britain series (which we strongly urge you do!), the programmes are a new partnership between the V&A and BBC Four that explore the history of British decorative arts.

The lecture gave a fascinating insight into the history of British manufacturing and design as well as covering the cultural context in which certain techniques were developed.

Joanna covered a range of different topics including the history of ceramics and stained glass, touching upon the upcoming subjects that she will be covering in more detail later on in the year.

Some insights from the lecture:

During the 15th Century, armour was a nobleman’s second greatest expense after his castle, and judging from the elaborate designs produced by the Greenwich Armouries we can see why.

The Portland Vase – a Roman cameo vase dating back to 25 BC was reproduced by Josiah Wedgwood in his signature Jasperware in 1789 after four years of painstaking trials. Wedgwood’s copy of the Portland vase became one of the most viewed artefacts of the age.

We would suggest this new series of lectures to anyone who wants a free 45 minute burst of British history and culture during their lunch break – much better than a soggy sarnie at your desk!

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